(CNN) – The point guard of the Brooklyn Nets, Kyrie Irving, He said Wednesday that he is not vaccinated against covid-19, a day after his team said that the seven-time All-Star will not be able to play this season due to his situation.
Irving had so far refused to publicly disclose his immunization status, but on Tuesday, Nets general manager Sean Marks said he would not play or practice with the team until he met eligibility requirements.
The NBA had warned the Nets, as well as the New York Knicks and the Golden State Warriors, that new covid-19 policies established by local governments will prohibit any unvaccinated player from playing in home games in New York City and San Francisco. .
“Kyrie made a personal decision and we respect her individual right to choose. Her choice currently restricts her ability to be a full-time team member, and we will not allow any member of our team to participate with part-time availability,” said Marks.
At Instagram Live video, Irving said that “no one should be forced to do anything with their body” and that his decision was not politically motivated.
“What would you do if you felt uncomfortable entering the season when you had been promised that there would be exemptions or that you would not be forced to get vaccinated?” Irving said. “This was not a problem before the season started. This was not something that I anticipated was going to come and it is not something that I prepared for or had the opportunity to strategize on what was going to be best for me and my family”.
Irving’s player status had been in doubt
On Friday, a New York City Council official told CNN that Irving I could practice in the facilities of the team, but will not be able to play in Nets games at home, at Barclays Center, due to the city’s vaccination mandate.
But the team issued its ultimatum Tuesday, saying Irving would not be able to play any games with the Nets.
“It is imperative that we continue to build chemistry as a team and stay true to our values of togetherness and sacrifice that we established long ago,” said Marks. “Our championship goals for the season have not changed, and to achieve them every member of our organization must pull in the same direction,” he said.
“Do you think I really want to give up my dream of going after a championship?” Irving said in Wednesday’s video. “Do you think I really want to quit my job? Do you think I really just want to sit at home and not go after things with my teammates that I’ve been able to grow up with, learn from?”
Irving said he has no intention of retiring. “Do not think that I am going to leave this game because of a vaccination mandate or to remain unvaccinated,” he said.
The Nets open their 2021-22 season against defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.
– CNN’s Jill Martin, Jacob Lev, Jack Bantock and Ben Church contributed to this report.